Have you noticed issues with your car's clutch once again? As you know, this is a crucial component in any car fitted with a manual gearbox. While it is something that will wear out from time to time, you can make a difference to the speed of its demise. Could poor driving technique be contributing to those all-too-frequent visits to your mechanic, and if so, what should you change?
Why Does the Clutch Wear?
The clutch plate is made from a friction material and is designed to be used in conjunction with the engine flywheel to allow the driver to change gears. This helps to match the speed of the engine with the speed of the shaft inside the gearbox and contributes to effective driving in different environments.
In an ideal world, the clutch plate would only mate with the back of the engine for a very brief moment, to enable the driver to physically move the gearstick. This would help ensure that the plate lasts as long as possible and encounters the minimal amount of friction. Unfortunately, poor driving etiquette means that this is very rarely the case.
Be More in Tune
Whenever you change gear, be very aware of the sweet spot. This is the point where the car begins to move under its own power through the newly-acquired gear and when you sense that moment, you should release the clutch pedal immediately. Otherwise, the clutch mechanism will slip, and this will result in unnecessary wear and tear.
You may be used to slowing the car down by using the engine as well as the brakes. If you do so, don't ride your foot on the clutch pedal to get ready to change down, but wait until the engine begins to struggle, before quickly changing down.
Removing Your Foot
Never let your foot sit on top of the clutch pedal simply because you feel that this is the best place to put it. If you apply even the smallest amount of pressure to the pedal this can cause unnecessary wear to the clutch plate. Instead, completely remove your foot and place it to the side of the pedal until you have to change gear once again.
What to Do Now
If you notice that your clutch is slipping without any input from you, then this is a sign that you will need to replace it. Take the vehicle into a mechanic as soon as possible for further action so that you don't endure a complete breakdown. Just remember to modify your driving habits in the future, so you can avoid a recurrence and go get your car serviced.